May sacked Williamson: Defence secretary asked to leave government over Huawei leak

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Gavin Williamson sacked
Gavin Williamson: Defence secretary asked to leave government over Huawei leak

Theresa May has sacked Gavin Williamson as defence secretary following an investigation over leaked information about Chinese mobile giant Huawei from a confidential meeting.

Downing Street said Mrs May asked Mr Williamson to leave the Government this evening having “lost confidence in his ability to serve”.

The decision had been “informed by his conduct” during an investigation into the leak, a statement added.

 

In a letter to Mrs May, the 42-year-old “strenuously” denied this. Speaking to Sky News correspondent Alistair Bunkall, he swore on his “children’s life” he was not behind the unauthorised disclosure.

The inquiry into the National Security Council leak began after the Daily Telegraph reported on the Huawei decision and subsequent warnings within cabinet about possible risks to national security over a deal with Huawei.

The National Security Council (NSC) is made up of senior cabinet ministers and its weekly meetings are chaired by the prime minister, with other ministers, officials and senior figures from the armed forces and intelligence agencies invited when needed.

It is a forum where secret intelligence can be shared by GCHQ, MI6 and MI5 with ministers, all of whom have signed the Official Secrets Act.

There has been no formal confirmation of Huawei’s role in the 5G network and No 10 said a final decision would be made at the end of spring.

Williamson was immediately replaced in his role by International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt.

She will be the UK’s first female defence secretary and retains the job of minister for women and equalities.

 

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